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Azerbaijani Minister Warns Of War With Armenia


http://gdb.rferl.org/6984a37a-989c-4d1a-a898-ad42ec538261_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/6984a37a-989c-4d1a-a898-ad42ec538261_mw800_mh600.jpg (RFE/RL) 6 December 2005 -- Azerbaijani Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said today that war could resume if Armenia recognizes Nagorno- Karabakh's independence.


At a meeting with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jim MacDougall, Abiyev said the longstanding conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave poses a threat to the security of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.


The pipeline is soon set to start delivering Caspian Sea oil to the Mediterranean.


According to a Defense Ministry statement, Abiyev said the Armenian leadership declared that it could recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. But he said if it does, it could lead to the resumption of fighting.


Armenia said last month that it could officially recognize Nagorno-Karabakh if negotiations on its status reach a dead end.


A 1994 cease-fire ended a six-year war that left Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, in Armenian hands. Some 30,000 people were killed and 1 million displaced.


The region's self-declared independence is not recognized internationally.


(AP)

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